A couple of months ago Paizo put out the Iron Gods adventure path and I was extremely stoked! Then I got part 1 and…it was lame…just completely uninspiring. Even “balanced” for a party of 4 players with a 15pt point buy Iron Gods is a joke. The first encounter is a single CR1 creature with no resistances, no defenses and absolutely nothing special. The next encounter is three fire beetles. There isn’t any serious challenges in the entirety of book one. Even the boss fight is utterly underwhelming…
One of my general problems with APs is Paizo’s insistence that the “average” party is 4, 15pt buys characters (even Paizo’s Pathfinder Society assumes 6 players with 20pt buys). I was lined up to play in an Iron Gods group and quit after one session since the GM was unwilling to put forth any effort towards upgrading or changing encounters to make the AP challenging (there were some player issues as well). Since then I’ve run through the first three books with a single 25pt character to prove my point and I was never even pressured.
So to that end I’m tossing up my notes for the Iron Gods AP to make it more challenging and balanced for a 4 person, 20pt buy group. These are organized in order of the book, page by page (and I’ll even list the page number, whoo).
Treefolk’s Hardmode – Iron Gods: Fires of Creation (Book 1)
Page 12 – Visiting the Foundry (CR2) – Add 3 more Malfunctioning Repair Drones into the foundry on the raised platform (DC10 acrobatics to not fall prone jumping down). They activate at the same time as the other one. The first robot pursues Val Baine until she is unconscious. Roll initiative when the players reach the south edge of the Tavern. The three bots in the foundry run for the house. If Val dies, Dolga offers the use of the Tavern as base of operations (as if Val were alive).
Page 14 – Entry Cavern (CR2) – Junk the beetles, add two Giant Worker Ants. They run in to A1 from A3 (DC15 Perception check to hear them approach). They charge if anyone climbs up into A3.
Page 16 – First Expedition’s Fate (CR3) – Triple the number of slime molds. The first three molds attack. One round after those die, 6 more exit from the dead halflings (DC25 perception to notice the bodies twitching).
Page 16 – Dark River Cave (CR2) – Get rid of the frog thingy. Use this instead.
Advanced Giant Giant Mining Beetle CR2 xp 600
N Medium vermin
Init: +3; Senses Low-Light Vision; Perception +4
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+3 Dex, +8 Natural)
hp 19 (2d8+10)
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +4
Immune mind-affecting effects
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft. (poor), burrow 20 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d6+9)
Str 22, Dex 17, Con 21, Int —, Wis 18, Cha 15
Base Atk +1; CMB +7; CMD 19 (27 vs trip)
Skills Fly -1
Luminescence (Ex) – A fire beetle’s glowing glands provide light in a 10-foot radius. A dead fire beetle’s luminescent glands continue to glow for 1d6 days after its death.
Page 18, 19 – Skulk Lair/Junkyard Cave (CR a lot, xp total for everything = 3800xp)
Couple of changes, 6 x Giant Mining Beetles (trained, do flanking things, etc). The 3 skulks get a ranger level (Favored Enemy Human, +1 BAB, +7 HP, +2 fort and reflex, +9 stealth, +20 stealth, +1 Strength).
Page 20 – Gremlin Caves + Jazvit’s Lair (CR2 + CR4)
Double number of Gremlins. Add light crossbows to everyone. Tactics turn into hit n run, spread out PCs and DDoor onto the squishy back line.
Jinkin Light Crossbow: +4(1d6)[19-20/x2]
Advanced Jinkin Light Crossbow: +6(1d6)[19-20/x2]
Also, every cave is trapped. All Jinkins aggro at the same time.
Page 24-25 – Guardian on Standby (plus others) (CR2) (B2-B5)
Repair Drone in every single room. After the first one dies, the others start running in.
Page 26 – Alien Habitat (CR2)
For every 50ft traveled, there’s a 50% chance that the person in the front of the group trips across a hidden Ghelarn. The skeletons are moved to B8 (triggering after is entered).
Page 27 – Kasatha Caves (CR4)
After the PCs enter into the caves, the skeletons animate and attack (all eight of them).
Page 29 – Observation Room (CR3)
Two more short swords, all are masterwork (+8 to hit). Step Up as another feat.
Page 33 – Chemistry Lab (CR3)
The machinery in this lab continues to whir and produce noxious chemical samples, dropping clumps into the floor. These samples congeal and animate after 3 rounds, turning into a Boilborn (with 1 Boilborn animating every two rounds until the machinery is disabled and samples stop being produced which requires a DC25 disable device check. If smashed, the chemicals react, exploding in a 20ft radius fireball (5d6 fire damage, reflex DC15 halves) centered on the hexagon thingy).
Page 35 – Xenobiology (CR8)
A weedwhip is in each door between C6 and CA-D (4 total).
Page 42 – Garmen’s Warehouse (CR7)
No changes to Garmen, Ropefist Thugs get 1 more rogue level (+1 BAB, +6 hp, +1 Reflex save).
Page 45 – Power Distribution Hub (CR3)
Swap Catch Off-Guard for Bludgeoner. Greatclubs swapped for scrap. Improved Initiative for Step Up.
Greatclub +3 (1d10+4)[20/x2]
Page 52 – Reactor Core (CR7)
Couple changes to Meyanda, namely an extra ranger level and swapping Craft for Deadly Aim. Not a huge number of differences. Here’s the stat block.
Meyanda CR6 XP2400
Female android cleric of Hellion 5/ranger 2
CN Medium humanoid
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +15
AC 23, touch 15, flat-footed 20 (+8 armor, +2 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 74 (7 HD; 5d8 + 2d10 + 14) [note: she’s a boss and now has full hp per HD instead of average rounded up]
Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7
Defensive Abilities constructed, entropic shield; Immune disease, emotion-based effects. exhaustion, fatigue, fear, sleep
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 manople +10 (1d8+5)x2
Ranged +1 inferno pistol +8 touch (1d6+6)x2
Special Attacks channel negative energy 3/day (DC 12, 3d6), favored enemy (humans +2), nanite surge
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +8) 6/day – vision of madness
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 5th; concentration +8)
3rd – chain of perdition, dispel magic (d),
bull’s strength, lesser angelic aspect, sound burst, touch of idiocy (d)
1st – cure light wounds,
divine favor, entropic shield (d), obscuring mist, shield of faith
D domain spell; Domains Entropy, Madness
Before Combat Meyanda casts bull’s strength, divine favor, entropic shield, lesser angelic aspect, magic vestment and shield of faith before combat.
During Combat Meyanda uses her magic in the first few founds of combat, using chain of perdition and sound burst to slow and delay foes while remaining mobile, moving from cover to cover and allowing her minions to engage the PCs in melee. She uses her +1 inferno pistol and keeps her distance once she’s caster her spells, using Deadly Aim with each shot. She uses healing on herself whenever she’s brought below half hp, and enters melee only as a last resort. Given the choice, she prefers to attack humans-more out of a strange instinctual reaction and fragmentary urges stemming from her past life, where the AI Unity used many androids as shock troops against Divinity’s human crew, than out of any conscious hatred.
Morale Meyanda fights until brought under one-quarter hp, at which point she attempts to escape using obscuring mist to cover her cowardice. If trapped with no hope of escape, she attempts to detonate the reactor as stated on page 52.
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 10
Base Att +5; CMB +5; CMD 21
Feats Point Blank Shot, Cleave, Deadly Aim, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Firearms), Technologist
Skills Knowledge (Engineering) +8, Knowledge (Religion) +8, Linguistics +7, Perception +14, Sense Motive -1, Spellcraft +7, Survival +12
Languages Androffan, Common, Elven, Orc, Undercommon
SQ emotionless, track +1, wild empathy +1
Combat Gear black nanite hypogun (5 charges); Other Gear +1 chainmail, +1 manople, +1 inferno pistol, nanite canister (2), white access card, bedroll, cold-weather outfit, flint and steel, mwk backpack, rations (5 days), traveler’s outfit, waterskin, winter blanket, 11 silverdisks, 62 gp
Constructed (Ex) For the purposes of effects targeting creatures by type (such as a ranger’s favored enemy and bane weapons), Meyanda counts as a humanoid and a construct. She gains a +4 racial bonus on all saving throws against mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison and stun effects; she is not subject to fatigue or exhaustion, and is immune to disease, emotion-based effects, fear and sleep effects. She can never gain morale bonuses.
Emotionless (Ex) Meyanda has problems processing emotions properly and suffers a -4 penalty on Sense Motive checks.
Nanite Surge (Ex) Meyanda’s body is infused with nanites. Once per day as an immediate action, she can cause her nanites to surge, granting a +8 bonus on any one d20 roll; this ability must be activated before the roll is made. When Meyanda uses this power, her circuitry-tattoos flow with light equivalent to that of a torch for 1 round.
Note: Meyanda’s stat block is counting her buffs. Without them, she’s much less terrifying. But I don’t feel like back calculating it at the moment.
Anyways, this is book one. I’ve got a team of PCs that I’m testing by running through this. So far, no-one has died (but they don’t have a proper source of hjeals!). I’ll keep a change log below this point if anything was too difficult.